MANSFIELD, Conn. -- The University of Southern Maine baseball team moved into championship round of the 2014 Little East Conference Baseball Championship Tournament by winning two elimination games Friday at the ECSU Baseball Stadium. The Huskies shut out Rhode Island College, 10-0, in eight innings in the second of three games played Friday, then came back to defeat the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 3-2, on junior Jake Glauser's (Goffstown, N.H.) RBI single in the top of the ninth inning.
Southern Maine, winners of the past two LEC tournament titles, will face top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University on Saturday needing to win twice. Eastern Connecticut, 3-0 in the tournament, needs only one win to take the title. The Warriors punched their ticket to the championship round by hanging on to beat UMass Dartmouth, 7-6, in the opening game of the day.
Sophomore right-hander Shyler Scates (Jefferson, Maine/Erskine Academy) hurled his first career shutout limiting Rhode Island College to six hits and two walks while striking out three to improve his record to 6-3.
Sophomore Sam Dexter (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) led the Huskies' 15-hit attack going 4 for 5, including a double and home run. Senior Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) was 3 for 3 with a pair of triples and three runs scored. Seniors Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) and Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) each had two hits, including a home run.
No Rhode Island College batter had more than one hit. Starting pitcher C.J. Tsoumakas (Hope, R.I./La Salle Academy) took the loss and finished the season 5-6. Tsoumakas went four innings allowing seven runs on nine hits and one walk. He fanned three.
Verrier's solo home run in the second inning gave USM a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies exploded for six runs in the third to blow the game open. Chadwick drove in the first run with a triple, and scored on a double by senior Chris Bernard (Scarborough, Maine). Verrier drove in Bernard before Thibodeau had the big hit driving a three-run homer over the left-field fence.
Chadwick scored on a double play in the fifth, and again in the seventh on Bernard's sacrifice fly. Dexter's solo home run in the eighth inning brought the 10-run rule into play.
With two outs in the ninth inning, Verrier singled and moved to second when Thibodeau walked. Glauser stroked a single to left field off tough-luck sophomore loser George Bent (Barnstable, Mass.) to bring Verrier around with the go ahead run.
USM junior right-hander Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine), who came on in relief in the third inning, was able to work out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth to preserve his fourth win of the season. Richards pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings giving up five hits and three walks while striking out six.
Chadwick provided the Huskies with their first two runs against UMD hitting solo home runs. Chadwick, who has four home runs in the tournament, and Glauser were the only repeat hitters for the Huskies.
Junior George Agostini (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) led the Corsairs' 10-hit attack with three singles. Junior Cory DeMedeiros (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) and classmate Ben Monteiro (Swansea, Mass./Case) had two hits apiece. Bent went 8.2 innings limiting the Huskies to seven hits and one walk while striking out three.
UMD took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on RBI hits from Agostini and Monteiro. Junior Ryan Medeiros (Acushnet, Mass./New Bedford) doubled with one out and scored when Agostini followed with a single. A DeMedeiros single ended the night for USM rookie starting pitcher Zack Bean (Westbrook, Maine) and brought Richards to the mound. Richards got the first batter before Monteiro singled in Agostini.
Chadwick quickly chopped a run off the deficit with a one-out homer in the fourth, and tied the game with a leadoff round tripper in the sixth.